Shutting Down Your Vacation House: A Guide

A vacation house is largely defined by the fact that you leave it at some point. This involves a shut down procedure that, for some of us, can be a quite involved ritual while for others is as simple as shutting off some lights and closing a few windows.

Here is a guide to shutting down your vacation house when you are headed back home for work on Monday or you won’t be back for a few weeks.

Every Shut Down

Every time you leave the house, you’ll want to do these things…

  • Close all windows
  • Lock all doors
  • Put down wood in the sliding door rails to prevent break-ins
  • Turn on cameras
  • Water all indoor plants
  • Take out the garbage and recycling
  • Turn off all unnecessary lights and ceiling fans
  • Close the garage door
  • Suspend newspaper delivery
  • Close gates and fences
  • Set the heat/air conditioning to an appropriate level
  • Turn your outdoor compost
  • Turn on the alarm
  • Turn off your whole house water line

Move on to the next, season-specific steps…

Summer Shutdown

If you are closing down your house down in the warm weather you’ll also want to…

  • Water your garden
  • Make sure the lawn is taken care of
  • Make sure the pool is covered and a proper state
  • Activate your sprinkler system
  • Set the AC to an appropriate temperature
  • Turn off your hot water
  • Cover any outdoor furniture

Winter Shutdown

Close your house in the cold weather? Here are some specific steps…

  • Make sure doors are open and cabinets under sinks are open to allow for heat circulation and prevent pipes from freezing
  • Double check your oil/propane levels
  • Confirm your whole house generator is in an ready state
  • Lower the house heat, but don’t turn if off entirely

Anything we’re missing? We almost certainly didn’t get to it all! Please email with suggestions.